Samuel Daniel (1562-1619)

picture of samuel daniel

See biography and commentary by William Minto and commentary on Delia by John Erskine.

From Delia (1592)

return to sonnet central return to elizabethan sonneteers
Visit Anniina Jokinen's Samuel Daniel page.

"Why should I sing in verse..."

Why should I sing in verse, why should I frame
These sad neglected notes for her dear sake?
Why should I offer up unto her name
The sweetest sacrifice my youth can make?
Why should I strive to make her live forever,
That never deigns to give me joy to live?
Why should m'afflicted muse so much endeavor
Such honor unto cruelty to give?
If her defects have purchased her this fame,
What should her virtues do, her smiles, her love?
If this her worst, how should her best inflame?
What passions would her milder favors move?
Favors, I think, would sense quite overcome,
And that makes happy lovers ever dumb.

"But love whilst that thou mayst be loved again"

But love whilst that thou mayst be loved again,
Now whilst thy May hath filled thy lap with flowers,
Now whilst thy beauty bears without a stain;
Now use the summer smiles ere winter lours.
And whilst thou spread'st unto the rising sun
The fairest flower that ever saw the light,
Now joy thy time before thy sweet be done;
And, Delia, think thy morning must have night,
And that thy brightness sets at length to west,
When thou wilt close up that which now thou show'st,
And think the same becomes thy fading best,
Which then shall most inveil and shadow most.
Men do not weigh the stalk for that it was,
When once they find her flower, her glory, pass.

"When winter snows upon thy sable hairs"

When winter snows upon thy sable hairs,
And frost of age hath nipped thy beauties near,
When dark shall seem thy day that never clears,
And all lies withered that was held so dear,
Then take this picture which I here present thee,
Limned with a pencil not all unworthy;
Here see the gifts that God and nature lent thee,
Here read thyself and what I suffered for thee.
This may remain thy lasting monument,
Which happily posterity may cherish;
These colors with thy fading are not spent,
These may remain when thou and I shall perish.
If they remain, then thou shalt live thereby;
They will remain, and so thou canst not die.

"Thou canst not die whilst any zeal abound"

Thou canst not die whilst any zeal abound
In feeling hearts that can conceive these lines;
Though thou, a Laura, hast no Petrarch found,
In base attire yet clearly beauty shines.
And I, though born within a colder clime,
Do feel mine inward heat as great (I know it),
He never had more faith, although more rhyme;
I love as well, though he could better show it.
But I may add one feather to thy fame,
To help her flight throughout the fairest isle,
And if my pen could more enlarge thy name,
Then shouldst thou live in an immortal style.
For though that Laura better limned be,
Suffice, thou shalt be loved as well as she.

"Most fair and lovely maid, look from the shore"

Most fair and lovely maid, look from the shore,
See thy Leander striving in these waves,
Poor soul, quite spent, whose force can do no more;
Now send forth hope, for now calm pity saves,
And waft him to thee with these lovely eyes,
A happy convoy to a holy land.
Now show thy power and where thy virtue lies;
To save thine own, stretch out the fairest hand.
Stretch out the fairest hand, a pledge of peace,
That hand that darts so right and never misses;
I shall forget old wrongs, my griefs shall cease;
And that which gave me wounds, I'll give it kisses,
Once let the ocean of my cares find shore,
That thou be pleased, and I may sigh no more.

"Beauty, sweet love, is like the morning dew"

Beauty, sweet love, is like the morning dew,
Whose short refresh upon the tender green
Cheers for a time, but till the sun doth shew,
And straight 'tis gone as it had never been.
Soon doth it fade that makes the fairest flourish,
Short is the glory of the blushing rose;
The hue which thou so carefully dost nourish,
Yet which at length thou must be forced to lose,
When thou, surcharged with the burthen of thy years,
Shalt bend thy wrinkles homeward to the earth,
And that in beauty's lease expired appears
The date of age, the kalends of our death.
But ah! no more, this must not be foretold,
For women grieve to think they must be old.

"None other fame mine unambitious muse"

None other fame mine unambitious muse
Affected ever but t' eternize thee;
All other honors do my hopes refuse,
Which meaner prized and momentary be.
For God forbid I should my papers blot
With mercenary lines, with servile pen,
Praising virtues in them that have them not,
Basely attending on the hopes of men.
No, no, my verse respects nor Thames nor theaters,
Nor seeks it to be known unto the great;
But Avon, poor in fame and poor in waters,
Shall have my song, where Delia hath her seat.
Avon shall be my Thames and she my song;
No other prouder brooks shall hear my wrong.

"Lo, here the impost of a faith entire"

Lo, here the impost of a faith entire
Which love doth pay and her disdain extorts;
Behold the message of a chaste desire
Which tells the world how much my grief imports.
These tributary passions, beauty's due,
I send those eyes, the cabinets of love,
That cruelty herself might grieve to view
Th' affliction her unkind disdain doth move,
And how I live, cast down from off all mirth,
Pensive, alone, only but with despair;
My joys, abortive, perish in their birth;
My griefs long lived, and care succeeding care.
This is my state, and Delia's heart is such;
I say no more, I fear I said too much.

"If this be love, to draw a weary breath"

If this be love, to draw a weary breath,
To paint on floods till the shore cry to th'air,
With downward looks, still reading on the earth
The sad memorials of my love's despair;
If this be love, to war against my soul,
Lie down to wail, rise up to sigh and grieve,
The never-resting stone of care to roll,
Still to complain my griefs whilst none relieve;
If this be love, to clothe me with dark thoughts,
Haunting untrodden paths to wail apart;
My pleasures horror, music tragic notes,
Tears in mine eyes and sorrow at my heart.
If this be love, to live a living death,
Then do I love and draw this weary breath.

(Compare Wyatt's "If amorous faith in heart unfeigned" and Constable's "To live in hell and heaven to behold".)